Sun 14 May 2006
There were many benefits from completing my service learning requirement at the OIC of Carlisle. First and foremost, I was able to understand a nonprofit organization from a first hand experience. Being able to take what I had learned in class and apply it to my experience at the nonprofit really helped my understanding of the hardships nonprofits face, but also the reward of working at a nonprofit. Being a volunteer, for me, was personally rewarding. Doing a job that could eventually benefit something or someone without any reward for doing it outside of self fulfillment was certainly beneficial to me. Lastly, just the knowledge I gained about what it would be like to potentially work in a nonprofit was beneficial. Now, when I consider my career options for the future, I can look back at this experience and remember how it was to work in a nonprofit.
In my service learning, I would not consider my work as personally impacting the people that utilize the organization. Because most of my work was done outside of the OIC of Carlisle, I never actually interacted with nor personally helped those who make the use of the nonprofit. However, my work could and hopefully will potentially help the organization itself by finding more sources for funding. This, in turn, would impact the people that use the organization by giving them the necessary resources to learn and allowing the OIC to use their funding in the necessary areas. Therefore, I feel my work did not personally impact the people, but rather impact the organizational stability of the OIC and potentially help the financial aspect of the future of the organization.
This experience connected to a lot of the work that we did in class and made our service learning work a real life example of it. Specifically, fund raising, volunteer management, competition for resources, and overall management were four aspects that I personally experienced in service learning that we learned about in class. The struggle for financial resources was a common and recurring theme in our class. With my work, I dealt first hand with this struggle by my inability to locate further resources for the OIC of Carlisle. Volunteer management, specifically difficulty of retaining full time volunteers, was evident with my service learning. Because Ben and I were in charge of such a large aspect of the nonprofit, it was clear that the struggle for volunteers was a problem at the OIC. Our struggle for finding foundations also related to the large number of nonprofits in the area of Carlisle. This competition made it difficult for us to approach certain foundations because of their narrow grant giving focus. Lastly, Ben and I were able to see the management problems at the OIC by working directly with their executive director. Although he had time for our meeting and work at the OIC, it was clear that his duties were too much for one person to handle and complete properly.